Tsavo is made up of two separate parks, Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park. At nearly 22,000km2, it is the largest national park in Kenya and one of the largest in the world. The park was split into two due to the railway going from Mombasa to the interior of Kenya. Tsavo West National Park is more mountainous and wetter than its counterpart, with swamps, Lake Jipe and the Mzima Springs.

I spent only 1 night in Tsavo West and did not get to go for a game drive so I wasn’t able to cover the park extensively, nevertheless the experience was still memorable.

The drive to the park seemed long probably because I had not been there before. My excitement started to build once we turned off the highway onto the dirt road that led to the park’s main gate.

Tsavo West National Park_Gate

 

The excitement died down a bit the moment I realized their was no mobile network coverage. Fortunately there was a lot to be distracted by so I didn’t miss using my phone that much (plus there was free wi-fi at the lodge).

The park is home to a variety of wildlife species such as Leopard, Cheetah, Wild dogs, Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Lion, Crocodile, Mongoose, Hyrax, Dik- dik, Lesser Kudu, and Nocturnal Porcupine. There are also around 600 species of birds in the park.

Here are a handful of animals I was able to spot during my brief stay at the park.

Tsavo West National Park_Giraffe

 

Tsavo West National Park_Giraffe feeding

 

Tsavo West National Park_Giraffe pair

Giraffes are quite common. They were pretty much everywhere I looked.

 

I was also able to spot a few herbivores on the way to the lodge but majority of the animals I got to see were at the watering hole behind the lodge.

Tsavo West National park_waterbuck

 

Tsavo West National Park_Lesser Kudu

 

I spent most of my time in Tsavo West sitting by the watering hole near the lodge watching the animals come and go.  I had the perfect vantage point however I did not get to see any of the big five.

Tsavo West National Park_Waering hole

 

Tsavo West National Park_Watering hole1

 

Tsavo West National Park_impala_

 

Tsavo West National Park_Impala walking

 

Tsavo West National Park_Vulture

 

The stunning Chyulu Hills divide the Tsavo and Amboseli plains.

Tsavo West National Park_Zebra

 

Tsavo West National Park_Chyulu Hills

 

Tsavo West National Park_Chyulu Hills2

 

Tsavo West is famous for Mzima Springs, whose water filters down through the volcanic soil of the Chyulu hills, providing an oasis for a wealth of birds, mammals and reptiles. The springs are a series of four natural springs located in the west of the Park, around 48 km from Mtito Andei. The source of the springs is a natural reservoir under the Chyulu Hills to the north.

Tsavo West National Park_Mzima springs

 

Tsavo West National Park_Mzima springs1

 

Tsavo West National Park_Mzima springs2

 

The walk through the springs was very tranquil; the only thing that disturbed the peace was the screeches from the baboons. Nevertheless it was the perfect activity to wind down after a long journey.

Tsavo West National park_Baboons

 

There is an observation hut with an underwater chamber where you can see below the surface of the springs.

Tsavo West National park_observation hut

 

Tsavo West National Park_Mzima Springs underwater

 

Tsavo West National Park_Mzima springs underwater (2)

 

The path around the springs is lined with informational plaques such as this one.

Tsavo West National Park_Mzima springs plaque

 

Tsavo West National Park_Path

 

I was able to spot the famous resident hippos of the springs but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a good shot. They were too far away.

Tsavo West National Park_Hippo skull

 

Tsavo West National Park_Hippo

 

Tsavo West National park_Hippos

 

On the way back to the lodge we were able to catch the tail end of the sunset, maybe not so dramatic but still a sight to behold.

Tsavo West National Park_Dusk

 

Tsavo West National Park_Dusk2

 

Tsavo West National Park_Sunset

 

Tsavo West National Park_sunset (2)

 

Tsavo is also famous because of the man-eaters of Tsavo. The man eaters were 2 lions responsible for the deaths of at least 28 (some estimates say 135) workers who were constructing the Kenya-Uganda Railway. In 1898 the 2 lions terrorized crews constructing a railroad bridge over the Tsavo River until they were finally killed by Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson. Their skins and skulls are now in display at in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

The incident was described in a book titled The Man-Eaters of Tsavo that became, in 1996, the basis for a movie starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer.

Colonel-Patterson-first-Tsavo-Lion-631.jpg__800x600_q85_crop

 

 

All too soon it was time to leave but there was one more stop to make before driving to Amboseli. About 4km west of the Chyulu gate of Tsavo West National Park, on the road to Amboseli, are the spectacular Shetani lava flows. ‘Shetani ’ means ‘devil’ in Kiswahili: the flows were formed only a few hundred years ago and local peoples believed that it was the devil himself emerging from the earth.

Tsavo West National Park_Shetani lava sign

 

Tsavo West National Park_Shetani Lava

 

 

Useful info

Charges to get into the park are as follows

Tsavo West National park_Charges

 

Things to do in Tsavo West

Rock climbing at Kichwa Tembo

Explore caves at Shetani Lava

Visit Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary

Go to Chaimu Crater & Roaring Rocks – these two natural features offer stunning views of the Chyulu Hills

How to get there

  • Distance: 240 km from Nairobi, 250km from Mombasa (Mtito Andei Gate).
  • By air There are 3 airstrips in the park
  • Gates: Tsavo, Lake Jipe, Mtito Andei (Kamboyo HQ), Chyulu, Maktau and Ziwani.
  • Roads: The main access routes are through Chyulu Gate from Amboseli and Mtito Andei Gate from Nairobi.
  • Visitors from Mombasa also use Tsavo Gate near Manyani.
  • The Park can also be reached via Taveta –Voi road through Maktau, Ziwani and Jipe Gates.
  • Airstrips: Kamboyo, Kilaguni, Tsavo Gate, Jipe, Kasigau,Finch Hottons, Ziwani, and Maktau airstrips are in good.

A huge thank you to Maneno for allowing me to use some of his images for this post.

This trip was facilitated by Serena hotels as part of a media tour. All opinions are my own

 

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14 Comments

  1. April 19, 2015 at 5:33 am — Reply

    Amazing – you keep bringing so many interesting things to our attention. Love it
    Paula McInerney recently posted…look mum no hands! LONDONMy Profile

  2. April 20, 2015 at 9:29 am — Reply

    Rachel, Wow! I’d never hears of Tsavo, but it looks like a wonderful spot. I think watering holes are such a great spot to see the wildlife. Great photos, too! Yay team Weekend Travel Inspiration!
    Corinne recently posted…Weekend Travel Inspiration – Tabor FischerMy Profile

  3. April 20, 2015 at 12:09 pm — Reply

    What a stunning setting! Your pictures as always are just amazing. They really make everything come alive ! The giraffes are so cute..I notice the price of $75 U.S. Do you know if that is for one day? I assume it is impossible to see everything in just a day..
    Kemkem recently posted…What €600 rent gets you in a Seville Pueblo!My Profile

  4. April 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm — Reply

    These are fantastic photos (as always). I particularly like the game shots up close but also from a distance, giving an idea of the scale and lay of the land.
    budget jan recently posted…Journey Destination Experience and finding the perfect Budget AccommodationMy Profile

  5. April 20, 2015 at 4:32 pm — Reply

    Tsavo West looks so lush, and as you pointed out, the hills in the backdrop are stunning. Good to know that this is the place that “Ghost in the Darkness” is set in. I saw that movie years ago…pretty scary to think of man-eating lions!
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted…Things to Do in MalibuMy Profile

  6. April 20, 2015 at 6:02 pm — Reply

    As always, beautiful photos. It’s a dream to see the wild life in person. I only hope to make it there one day.
    Crystal recently posted…The Story Behind la Punta Pirulil and el Muelle de las Almas in ChiloéMy Profile

  7. April 20, 2015 at 10:58 pm — Reply

    even without animals the scenery is stunning! i could sit their and enjoy those views for quite a while (especially with a cold beer handy).
    eileen @ FamiliesGo! recently posted…Weekend Travel Inspiration: 6 Bright Ideas For Philadelphia With KidsMy Profile

  8. April 21, 2015 at 8:01 am — Reply

    Tsavo West is so beautiful, especially in one of your photos with the mountains in the distance and the clouds across the sky. You had a great view of the watering hole and a good camera for capturing all the animal action. I especially like the giraffes.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…The Slowpoke’s Guide to the runDisney Castaway Cay 5KMy Profile

  9. April 24, 2015 at 10:11 am — Reply

    Watching the sun rise there would be my dream come true…. Magic happens here!
    Agness recently posted…Fukuoka For Less Than $25 A DayMy Profile

  10. April 25, 2015 at 9:23 pm — Reply

    Amazing pictures. I should visit Tsavo next year.

  11. April 29, 2015 at 9:30 am — Reply

    I love Tsavo West, thank you for taking me back. You might have had a short visit but you ended up with a lot to share. Cheers!
    KC recently posted…Camping On Lumo Conservancy – Visit, Experience, UnderstandMy Profile

  12. May 3, 2015 at 3:52 am — Reply

    Love this! I’m still trying hard to convince my husband for a safari trip soon. You always inspire me to keep trying to go on my dream trip. This looks like an amazing park. What a wonderful experience. Beautiful photos as always!
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted…Visiting David at Accademia Gallery FlorenceMy Profile

  13. May 6, 2015 at 6:48 pm — Reply

    Wow – what amazing shots.
    ladyfi recently posted…Honeyed lightMy Profile

  14. May 16, 2015 at 5:03 pm — Reply

    […] Kilaguni Serena Safari lodge is among the first lodges ever to be built in a park in Kenya, back in 1962.  The lodge is located within the Tsavo West National Park (a short drive from the main Mtito Andei Gate). It consists of 56 rooms (inclusive of 5 suites: all non-smoking). I stayed at the lodge while on a visit to the Tsavo West National Park. […]

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